Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Symptoms
Some of the symptoms of PTSD can develop years following the event and present like this:
- Hypervigilance, panic attacks, increased startle response, anger attacks, chronic anxiety
- Hyperarousal – this can show as physical symptoms (increase in heart rate, sweating, cold sweats, difficulty breathing, muscular tension) or as a mental process (increased repetitious thoughts, racing mind and worry
- Nightmares, flashbacks, somatic symptoms, paralysis and behavioral enactments
- Overwhelming worry and fear, depression
- Dissociated aspects of the original trauma may appear on a somatic or physical level (for example feeling left gasping for air, not being able to breathe, unexplained stomach pains, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia)
- Unconscious repetitive and destructive patterns of engagement with others (repeated victimization, acting out or in sexually)
- Withdrawing and isolation from regular life and avoidance of interpersonal relationships. Difficulty trusting others
- Addictions of any kind
- Disconnection and dissociation between thoughts, feelings, sensations, behaviors and images
- Rigidity in responding to life situations – loss of choice and flexibility – responding to current situations as if they held the same danger as the past traumatic experience.
- Repeated abusive or traumatic relationships. Compulsion to repeat the actions that caused the problem in the first place.
- A sense of stuckness, frozenness, numbness, immobility, lack of motivation, inability to move forward.
- A sense of shame or pervading guilt. Feeling weak or helpless.
Professional help can minimize the possibility of developing PTSD, or in case of an older trauma to reduce its effect.
Article posted 27 July 2018